September 18, 2019

Fear isn't the reason you avoid speaking...



Not Alex Honnold...
Raise your hand if you watched "Free Solo," the documentary about Alex Honnold's untethered climb of El Capitan's 900-meter vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park.

Now raise your hand if you watched with one eye closed, hands in front of your face, hiding in a closet!

Sometimes even watching someone else do something frightening scares us: even when we know he emerges unscathed!

The interesting thing about watching Honnold scale El Cap is that he wasn't scared (or at least not as much has he should have been!).

He was cautious. He was careful. He was alert. He was deliberate. He was methodical. And he was prepared.

One thing Alex Honnold doesn't do: Avoid rock climbing because he might fall.

And yes, this is a metaphor for public speaking. Cuz you know me and you know where this is going.
"I try to expand my comfort zone by practicing the moves over and over again. I work through the fear until it's just not scary anymore."
What does Honnold do in order to expand his comfort zone? He practices. Over and over again.

Makes sense, right? The more you practice, the more you put yourself into the situation that scares you, the more comfortable you become.

First of all, let's just get this out of the way: Alex Honnold is what is known as a "freak of nature," a person who is uniquely suited to what he does, because of genetics, because of training, because of his particular mental makeup. No amount of doing what Honnold does will make you Honnold.

But getting back to practical matters: You might argue, "But Alex Honnold LIKES rock climbing. He's not doing it because he HAS to. He practices because he likes doing it."

Fair enough. And here's what I say to that: You don't HAVE to do public speaking. You GET to do public speaking!

Here are a couple of examples of what you get every time you give a presentation, whether you're an entrepreneur, author, business professional, nonprofit leader or someone else who has something important to say:
  • You get to share an important message with the world
  • You get to transform even one person's life
  • You get to raise money for your cause
  • You get to show your boss that you're a rock star
  • You get to show the world your expertise and authority on a subject
  • You get to learn and grow from your mistakes
  • You get to build confidence in your abilities
(And there are more...)

And then I might argue: What if you learned to like public speaking, or even love it? What then? What could you do with this skill? Where could it take you?

My friends, colleagues and clients do a lot of avoiding of public speaking. And by "avoiding," I mean either not pursuing speaking opportunities or saying no when opportunities are presented.

And these reasons are not all about fear, by the way. Many of my clients  are comfortable speaking, and they avoid it anyway - until they can't any longer! Some common excuses:
  • They don't have time to prepare
  • They don't know what to talk about
  • They don't know where to begin
  • They don't know how to end
  • They don't know how to structure a presentation effectively
  • They don't think they know enough about their topic
  • They don't know how to be engaging and make their topic interesting
  • They don't think they're the right person to speak on the topic
And so on...

This is a vicious circle, right? You don't make time to properly prepare or practice... and then you give a presentation that's only so-so... and you don't enjoy yourself... and the audience looks bored... so you assume that this is just something you don't like and you're not good at.

And because it's something you don't like and you're not good at... you don't take more opportunities to practice and learn how to do it right... so you only give a presentation once a year... and every time it's like starting all over again.

It doesn't have to be this way!
  • I can show you how to prepare and practice
  • I can help you discover what to talk about
  • I can teach you where to begin and how to end
  • I can give you tools to structure a presentation effectively
And...
  • You DO know enough about your topic
  • You CAN be engaging and make your topic interesting
  • You ARE the right person to speak on the topic
If you're avoiding speaking because you don't know where to start, what to talk about and how to put it all together, I've got you covered.

If you're avoiding speaking because of discomfort, fear of judgement, fear of making mistakes, or any of the other fears that we face when making a big statement to the world:
“You’re not controlling your fear.  You’re stepping outside of it.”
 Another Alex Honnold gem, there.

I've got a downloadable, DIY, on-demand product for you that is going to help you build every presentation on a solid foundation of concrete. No more excuses. No more avoiding. No more fear (well, a little is okay, but not if it keeps you avoiding!). Just forward action.

Click the image to grab your new Presentation Foundation Quickstart Kit. Eyes wide open!




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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

September 16, 2019

I can't believe I've never taught this...



So... this is weird. I just realized something yesterday when going through the surveys I've sent to my peeps about what kind of help they need with their public speaking.

What do you think shows up higher on the list than building confidence, reducing anxiety and engaging the audience? (answer coming...)
.
.
.
👉👉This: Knowing what to say and how to say it in an organized and compelling fashion!👈 (Did you guess correctly?)

Guess who has never offered support around this topic, except to my individual coaching clients! I know! ME! 🤦‍🤯🤷‍

DUH moment: I need to share these tools with more people who need them‼️

A lot of entrepreneurs, business professionals and nonprofit leaders WANT to be out there speaking, but they just don't know WHAT to say or HOW to say it.

🤸🤸🤸So here it comes: I'm developing a product for you - downloadable, DIY, on-demand - that will give you the tools for

1. WHAT to say
2. HOW to say it
3. How to STRUCTURE it
4. How to make it ENGAGING
5. And how this gets your audience to take ACTION

I already do this work 1-on-1 with my private coaching clients, but you're going to get a standalone product that you can use over and over, every time you need to give a new presentation.

And there's going to be something ✨extra-special✨ about this offering, but you'll have to wait for the rest of the details. 🤭

Want more info? Just raise your hand in the comments! ✋✋✋ (Or say "YES!" if you're emoji-challenged.)


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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

August 30, 2019

Why your role model doesn't have all the answers



"You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once. But don't ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own." ~ Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama is one of our country's most beloved role models. Her advocacy, sense of style, willingness to speak authentically about a range of issues, and of course, her book (which took only 15 days to break the record for the most copies of any book sold in 2018), have made raving fans of millions of people.

Positive role models often embody characteristics we wish we had. Even when we know that role models are human and flawed, just like all of us, we find comfort in knowing there are people in the world whose work, behavior or abilities we can admire and even strive to emulate.

But I believe that in looking up to role models, we discount our own ability to influence others.

We look to role models to speak up, because they're celebrities (in one way or another), they have a bigger platform, they already have the attention of many, and they have the superpower of being able to bounce back from bad press or criticism. Sometimes it seems like speaking up is something "other people" do.

Maybe it takes the pressure off; if someone else is speaking up for change, you don't have to. It's easy to hide behind our role models, to share their quotes on Facebook, to give their books as gifts, to pay top dollar to hear them speak at events, and to continue to let them do all the advocacy and activism.

Michelle Obama impacts millions of people, but she doesn't resonate with everyone. None of us will resonate with everyone.

But what if you could impact 100 people with your message? What if you could impact ten people? What if you could change one person's life? 

What if you could be someone else's role model?

Guess what: You already are!

There are people who look up to you. Your message and your story are unique to you, and there are people who need to hear exactly what you have to say, in the unique way that you say it.

In fact, you might be advocating for the same important issues as a well-known celebrity or other known personalities or experts, and yet you have the opportunity to connect with individuals and your community on a personal level that a celebrity rarely gets.

Role models are often inspiring teachers and examples to us. But don't forget that you can also be a role model, and probably already are.

Don't wait for the someone else to speak up. Now is the time. You have the right message. And you are the right person for the people who need you. And believe me, people need you.

Michelle Obama said it herself in the quote above: "...don't ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own."

Now, who are you going to go out and inspire?

If you desire to impact and influence your audiences in a bigger way through speaking up for change, there are still spots open in my new Speaking Up For Change: Engage, Inspire, Transform online program starting September 10.

Speaking Up For Change banner



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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

August 27, 2019

She nailed it!



I started working with a client last month who was tapped to give a presentation at a leadership conference within her industry. The audience was made up of younger versions of herself (don't you wish you could always speak to younger versions of yourself?), and she was challenged to share her story while also teaching leadership lessons.

She came to me with some common concerns: She's used to "winging it" and not not fully preparing; she gets a little bit of stage fright right before she speaks; and this was very different from her usual shorter and more technical presentations.

Her goals were straightforward and simple: to be more strategic, impactful, and prepared, and to provide an authentic and inspiring experience for the young leaders in the room. Also, because she's applying for a new, more visible, leadership role in her company, she wanted to leave a good impression and to come across as thoughtful, articulate and organized.

We spent 90 minutes together - three 30-minute sessions over the phone - to prepare her content, structure, engagement activities and slides.

As I had hoped, on Friday I got an "I nailed it" email, with a great testimonial.

But the best part was when I asked for permission to use her words on my website. This was her response:

"Yes of course! Thank you so much again. I am ironically eager to try another presentation!"

This is what REALLY lights me up.

Sure, I want my clients to walk away from their presentations feeling confident, successful, and impactful.

I love to hear that their audience related to what they said and that audience members' attitudes and thoughts about themselves as leaders have changed.

I especially love it when one of the organization's leaders tells my client she should do a TED talk! 🤯🍾🎉

But mostly? I want them to see all the possibilities that await them as speakers.

I want them to enjoy it so much that they want to do it again and again!

And I want them to experience #speakingupforchange firsthand.

This client is now planning to apply to be one of 13 speakers at a conference that just happens to be a partnership between her company and TED!

If you desire to impact and influence your audiences in a bigger way through speaking up for change, I want to let you know that there are still spots open in my new Speaking Up For Change: Engage, Inspire, Transform online program starting September 10. (The graphic says 9/11, but it is in fact 9/10.)

But the 1:1 coaching bonus goes away on Friday.

When you sign up for the program, you'll get personal attention from me on putting together your presentation, within the Facebook group, but you won't get a free 1:1 coaching call with me unless you sign up for the program by this Friday.

Do you want to nail your presentations?

Do you want to experience the powerful results of speaking up for change?

Do you want to go out into the world and deliver your message with joy, confidence and ease, over and over and over again!

Please join me!

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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

August 7, 2019

Claim the Stage podcast interview with Angela Lussier



Listen in on my conversation with Angela Lussier about ditching perfection and creating connection as a speaker!



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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

August 1, 2019

It's not fair



Last week, as many of my speaker colleagues packed and prepared to attend our annual convention, I saw a repeated refrain in our comment threads, all a variation of:

"I have to get a blow out, spray tan, hair colored and cut, teeth whitened, nails done, legs waxed, lashes extended, eyebrows dyed, shop for makeup and new outfits, find my Spanx, and find a gown to wear to the gala that I haven't worn before."

While lamenting that our male colleagues don't have to do any of this to prepare for a conference.

And more than once: "It's not fair."

Is it really? Not fair?

I'm not going to go into a huge gender socialization rant here or rail against a society that has such dramatically different expectations for women and men when it comes to appearance. Unfortunately, gender socialization frequently blinds us to the reality that we do, in fact, have a choice.

This post is about choice. You have a choice.

Sure, there are things in life that aren't fair, like genuine discrimination on the basis of gender, race, ability or sexual orientation.

But nobody is forcing women to dress and groom ourselves the way we do.

I'm not going to pretend I'm immune. I hate shaving my legs, and I actually stopped doing it about 30 years ago. But then I realized that sometimes I want to wear a skirt on stage, without tights or pantyhose. And I don't want my audience to be distracted if they notice my hairy legs.

So a couple of years ago, I started getting my legs waxed. Once a year, in the summer, so if it's hot and I want to wear a skirt or dress without tights onstage, I can, and no one will be distracted.

I hate that I care about this, or that someone might be so disturbed by the faint hair on my legs that they won't be able to listen to my content. But it's still my choice to wax my legs that one time a year. No one is forcing me to do it. I could wear tights. I could wear pants. I could let it go, and see what happens!

You have a choice. Do you have to dye your hair? Nope. Do you have to whiten your teeth? Nope. Do you have to wear Spanx? Good lord, no you do not!

Don't kid yourself that someone is "making" you do these things. The only thing that isn't fair is how you're treating yourself, like you're not a good enough female human unless you jump through all these hoops that prove you're what society considers appropriate and feminine.

If you enjoy doing all of this stuff before a big conference or speaking engagement, then by all means do it! I'm not judging and nobody has a right to judge you.

But if it annoys you... if you feel that "it's not fair"... and if you wish you didn't have to do it...

Guess what: You don't!

There are women speakers who don't wear heels, or clingy dresses that require Spanx, who don't spend a fortune on hair, lash and nail maintenance, wear minimal makeup (depending on the stage, you probably need at least some to be seen) and who still get hired and, by the way, get paid a lot of money to do what they do.

You are more than your appearance. Your message is what matters. Your personality, your authenticity, your connection with the audience. Your brilliance.

No matter what anyone else says, you don't have to do anything you don't enjoy doing.

What's not fair? You or anyone else making you feel that you're not good enough just as you are.

P.S. Have you read my book, Presenting for Humans: Insights for Speakers on Ditching Perfection and Creating Connection? Just another little encouragement toward being real, embracing your uniqueness, and kicking butt on stage!

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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

July 17, 2019

Your voice: Small pebble... big ripples



A few years ago, I was taking my usual shortcut through Earl Warren Showgrounds on my daily walk, when I was stopped by a family in an SUV. They had a couple of questions about the Fiesta rodeo, a longstanding Santa Barbara tradition that's part of our annual Old Spanish Days festivities.

"How is the rodeo?" they asked. "Is it suitable for children?" And... "Is it violent?"

If you know me at all, if you know how much I love animals and if you know that I've been a vegetarian for 30 years, you'll have an idea how I answered.

I shared my thoughts honestly. I told them that I don't agree with rodeos, that animals are harmed in the process and that I didn't feel it was suitable for children.

1) Animals (especially mammals) are feeling, thinking, intelligent creatures that suffer physical and emotional pain (reach out if you'd like me to send you resources on on the intelligence and sensitivity of animals).

2) People dominating animals for entertainment is harmful to both the animals and to the onlookers, as the audience becomes desensitized to the suffering of animals. (Yes, I know people still do these activities on ranches, which is an argument in favor of rodeos. That still doesn't make it okay as entertainment.)

But no, there's no blood and gore. The parents were satisfied with our conversation and they pressed on to look for a parking spot.

I had felt heartbroken that day walking through the showgrounds, past all the rodeo horses and other animals in their stalls unaware of the fear, stress and possible injury awaiting them.

The opportunity to speak with this family raised my spirits and gave me hope. I was grateful to introduce them to a perspective on rodeo they might not have heard before, about the effects on the animals pressed into service for what many consider to be an inhumane sport.

They listened and seemed thoughtful, and I hope they took my words to heart and maybe did more research on their own.

Speaking up for change doesn't have to be dramatic or aggressive. It can be loud or soft. It can be a poke or a shove, a shuffle or a stride. Change is change, whether big or small. 

Your voice is needed. Your message is valuable. A pebble still makes ripples!

What change do you want to bring about? What cause or issue are you passionate about? Want to make big ripples or small ripples? The choice is yours! 

Join my Speaking Up For Change: Engage, Inspire, Transform online program and get your message off your heart, out of your head, and into the world! It starts September 10, but sign up by August 30 for a free 1:1 coaching bonus!



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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

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